This week was one of big surprises in the world of movie news. Quentin Tarantino is suddenly in pole position to make a Star Trek movie, DC is on the hunt for a brand new Batman and Bryan Singer has been ousted from the Freddie Mercury biopic just three weeks before it is due to cross the finishing line. Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds is about to play Pikachu.
On the more conventional side of things, though, we were also treated to our first trailer for the upcoming dino-blockbuster Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. As a sequel to the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time, director JA Bayona has a hard act to follow with the film.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Jurassic World 2 trailer lets out prehistoric roar
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are back in amongst the dinosaurs in the first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The trailer sees the duo return to Isla Nublar in order to rescue the creatures who have roamed there freely since the events of the last movie, but are now threatened by a volcanic eruption. There’s also a return for Dr Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, and he features heavily in the trailer, despite what will almost certainly be a minor cameo in the finished film.
This trailer is something of a disappointment. It seems that the story is simply a contrivance to allow for a near-identical plot setup to the rest of the Jurassic Park franchise, rather than capitalising on the chance to do something genuinely different with the narrative. The CGI effects, though, are admittedly spectacular and hopefully there’s enough prehistoric bedlam to paper over the apparently rather lazy narrative decisions. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is out in June 2018.
Tarantino looks to boldly go towards Star Trek
An idea that seemed completely insane at the beginning of this week has quickly become a near-reality. Eyebrows were well and truly raised when Deadline reported that Quentin Tarantino had impressed JJ Abrams and Paramount with his pitch for a Star Trek movie. The studio set up a writer’s room immediately and, before anyone knew it, another report at Deadline suggested Mark L Smith, of The Revenant fame, was the favourite to pen Tarantino’s film, which would be R-rated in a break from franchise tradition.
This is all moving very quickly. The notion of an R-rated Star Trek movie directed by Tarantino is a weird one and it would still be something of a surprise if this actually happened. Paramount and Abrams seem keen on the idea, though, and there’s certainly potential for this to be a very different journey aboard the Enterprise. It’s certainly a project worth keeping an eye on in the coming months and years.
Reeves to replace Affleck for The Batman
Stories about DC mounting a major shake-up of its movie universe seem to come around once every couple of months. The latest story, in Variety, suggested the surprising box office struggles of Justice League will trigger a variety of backroom changes. The report also mentioned that director Matt Reeves may be recasting Ben Affleck as Batman, ahead of upcoming solo adventure The Batman. Affleck would reprise his role, however, in the Flashpoint movie with Ezra Miller. It seems there’s a tangled web being woven over at Warner Bros.
This is yet another baffling and bizarre move from DC in its messy movie universe. One would hope they are simply creating a Batman franchise for Reeves that is separate from the wider universe, or perhaps offering a chance for Affleck’s weary Bruce Wayne to hand over the cowl to a younger Caped Crusader. The latter option is certainly interesting and, this week, I argued for Michael B Jordan as a potential replacement for Affleck. Now that would be worth seeing.
Singer fired from biopic Bohemian Rhapsody
There’s also chaos behind the scenes on a considerably smaller movie – Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. This week, director Bryan Singer was sacked from the project with just three weeks of shooting to go. The Hollywood Reporter wrote Singer was fired over regular disappearances from set and unprofessional clashes with star Rami Malek, who is playing Freddie Mercury. There has also been speculation that the firing was down to a lawsuit that has since emerged, accusing Singer of rape back in 2003, though the director denies these allegations. Either way, Sunshine on Leith director Dexter Fletcher will replace Singer to finish the film, according to Deadline.
Whatever the reason for Singer’s sacking, the production must continue in order to get Bohemian Rhapsody finished. The film was in development hell for years and this is another setback for a movie that has frequently seemed as if it will just never get made. Fletcher is a great choice of filmmaker to get the project in the can and his lightness of touch will hopefully make this the film it deserves to be. Bohemian Rhapsody is still aiming to meet its December 2018 release date.
Ryan Reynolds set to be the voice of Pikachu
In perhaps the weirdest news of the week, Ryan Reynolds has been cast to play the title role in Detective Pikachu, which is looking to cash in on the Pokémon Go craze, well over a year after anyone last thought about it. The Hollywood Reporter revealed Reynolds has been cast and suggested his performance in the movie will be achieved at least partially through motion-capture, which might mean a Pikachu with a terrifying Ryan Reynolds quality to his face.
This project is an intriguing one because it’s such a bizarre brand of Pokémon movie to make; a long way from the more conventional narratives of many of the animated Pokémon films. It has all been put together mostly behind a veil of secrecy, with this being our first bit of information since it was revealed Rob Letterman, who made Goosebumps, will direct the movie.
Kurt Russell will be Santa Claus for Netflix
And the oddball casting just keeps on coming. The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Kurt Russell is set to play Santa Claus in a Christmas movie for Netflix. The film will follow a pair of siblings who, in an attempt to catch Santa on camera to prove his existence, accidentally cause his sleigh to crash in Chicago. They must then help Santa to sort himself out in time to get Christmas back on track.
This sounds like every other Christmas movie ever made on paper, but the casting of Russell as Father Christmas is very interesting indeed. He will almost certainly be a slightly grumpier Santa than the avuncular, twinkly types we’re now so used to seeing on the big screen. It could be fun, but Netflix original movies are so varied in quality that you never quite know. Netflix is hoping to have the currently untitled movie ready for release by the Christmas season of 2018.
Wright says Baby Driver 2 is close to a done deal
Of all of the non-franchise films released in 2017, Baby Driver feels like it could have the most interesting sequel. Talk of a follow-up began almost immediately after the film became a box office hit during an otherwise rather disappointing summer. Writer-director Edgar Wright confirmed to Entertainment Weekly this week that a sequel is close to being a done deal. He said the deal is “being hammered out as we speak” and went on to say he has “definitely got lots of ideas” for what to do with the characters next.
This is fantastic news. Baby Driver is one of the best films of this year and it lends itself very nicely to a potential sequel. Wright has been booted out of franchises before, so it feels somehow like justice is being done now that he has created a franchise completely off his own back. I will certainly be following any developments with Baby Driver 2 very closely indeed.
Are you excited to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom after this first trailer? Do you think Quentin Tarantino will do a good job with a Star Trek movie? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.